A vital exercise for construction company CEOs
In the world of sports, the best executives are always evaluating their roster of talent. They strive every day, season after season, to field a team of talented players that fit with their organization’s culture. Great construction CEOs do the same thing. They consistently assess the people in their company and ask, “Do I have the right people in the right seats?”
This post will explore a simple exercise, using your organizational chart, for evaluating your company’s roster strength.
Have you ever promoted someone, and it didn’t work out?
You took a brilliant Project Manager or Executive who thrived running complex projects with your most challenging clients and made them COO. They were committed and aligned with your company’s values. Still, as they got into the role, it became clear that getting out of daily oversite of a project frustrated them, and they were uncomfortable leading a larger team of people. They were the right person, but they were in the wrong seat.
Or, perhaps you’ve hired a Chief Estimator from the outside.
They had the technical chops, a strong network of relationships, and landed some projects. But, they never fit in with your organization’s collaborative culture and struggled to work well with the “build work” part of your business. They were the wrong person in the right seat.
How can you avoid these situations and fill each role in your company with the right person in the right seat?
Get out your organizational chart. Start with the people who directly report to you in the three critical aspects of your business:
- Get Work
- Chief Estimator
- Build Work
- Build Work</strong
Now, use a simple +/- system to evaluate them for “right person, right seat”.
Are they aligned with your values, buy into your mission and vision, bleed company colors? Then they are the right person, put a “+” next to their name.
Now, think about their professional competency. Is the person able to execute their duties without getting overwhelmed? They are in the right seat, put another “+” next to their name.
One thing to pay attention to: a person has been in a position for several years, they’ve got their duties nailed, but they are starting to get bored and stagnate. You may be in danger of losing this person to the competition, and you need to think about giving them a new seat. Put a “-“ next to their name.
This can lead to a series of tough decisions.
Your goal is to have every position in your company filled with “+/+” people. Is there a “-” next to a name? You must take action. If you have the wrong person, even if they are brilliant, you are doing them and your company a disservice by allowing them to stay in the organization. Start making plans for moving them out of your company.
If you have the right person but they are not effective or happy in their seat, you have three options:
- Train: If they can learn, get them the technical and leadership training they need to execute their role.
- Demote: This is often the kindest and most effective thing you can do. Have a frank discussion, describing where the person fits in your company and open the door for them to move.
- Promote: This can be tricky. You have someone who has earned and wants to move up, but there may be a limited number of seats in your company. How should you handle this? There are multiple answers to this question; you can choose to pursue new project types or expand geographically and put the person in charge of that initiative. Or, another approach that works very well is the “tours of duty” approach. For example, you can take a talented Project Manager, shift them over to Estimating for a while, and allow them to learn the “Get Work” side of the business.
You are very busy, and you may resist doing the “+/-” exercise.
You know it will reveal problem areas, and you’ve got enough on your plate without having to give attention to your company’s people issues. This is a mistake. Whatever your title is: CEO, President, or Owner, you are responsible for your company’s roster’s strength. Imitate the best sports executives and dedicate your time to ensuring you have the right people in the right positions.
If you think you’d benefit from an outside sounding board to help you through this process, reach out to me.
I have these types of conversations with the construction executives I coach regularly.
All we need is 10 minutes on the phone together to figure out together if we should begin to explore working together. Click this link to book a call with me.
The longer you put off tough people decisions, the more profound the negative impact on your company. Start taking action today, and if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.